“Lost in the crowd? An investigation into where microwork is conducted and classifying worker types” (click for article)


The global expansion of the platform economy raised questions about where and by whom different forms of platform work are performed in Europe. This study focuses on microworking – that is, where an anonymous ‘crowd’ completes piecemeal digital work. Specifically, we address two questions about microworking in the EU-27: Where is microworking performed? Who is performing it? Based on the geolocation of 5,239 workers active on six prominent microworking platforms, we identify variation in the relative prevalence of microworking across the EU. Furthermore, we build on existing research to provide a more granular understanding of different classes of microworkers, in terms of diversity and (income) dependency. Four distinct classes of microworkers emerge through statistical modelling of eight relevant diversity and dependency indicators: age, gender, education, citizenship, experience, hours per week, personal income earned, household income. We label these classes Explorers, Enthusiasts, Supplementers, and Dependents. The identification of these emergent classes and varied prevalence of microworking across the EU, suggest the importance of heterogeneity to both the future study and regulation of microwork.